I have been told that I sound ditzy – until I talked for a little longer, and started using big words that no one expected. I’ve been told that I need to sound more authoritative, to speak sternly and declaratively. When I tried, I’ve been told I sound monotone. People have said my voice sounds musical, bobbing up and down like a song. People love to imitate how I speak.
And when I asked my male friends, no one had ever had this experience.
I’ve listened to This American Life’s chapter about vocal fry. I read this article. And now, once again, there’s a podcast on Fresh Air asking, “Are we ‘policing’ young women’s voices?” I’ll add my own question – Can we stop it already?
There are so many ways that women already have to change themselves to be “appropriate.” To avoid being raped, the responsibility is on us to not dress too provocatively, or drink too much. At work, we have to be extra certain to dress professionally to avoid looking too young, to not wear pink so we don’t look too feminine, to choose high necklines so our chests aren’t too distracting. After all, we don’t want to be accused of sleeping our way to the top, right?
The way we speak shouldn’t be the next on an already long list of behaviors to we have to adapt to fit.
Image by Howard Lake